10 Months and 3500 Miles, Cat Comes Home To Portland


Ron Buss cuddles with Credo, a black and white cat, and Mata Hairi, a white calico mix who disappeared 10 months ago in Southeast Portland. She turned up in Montana after a journey with a homeless man who hitchhiked 3,500 miles.

By Lynne Terry from The Oregonian

It all began at the age of 2 weeks old. That’s how old Mata Hairi was when owner Ron Buss found her under a porch and started taking care of her. Buss of Southeast Portland, got a call Thursday from a vet in Montana who identified the white cat with gray and black markings who fetches catnip like a dog. Buss learned she had traveled thousands of miles across the West with a homeless man who’d picked her up at Tabor Hill Cafe, a few blocks from Buss’ house in Southeast Portland.

He’s owned her ever since she was left with her littermates about four years ago under a neighbor’s porch. Buss, a longtime cat lover, fed the five felines a special milk formula purchased at a pet food store. Buss had his vet implant the kittens with microchips to identify his cats Mata and Credo if they ever got lost.

Usually Credo and Mata strolled around the neighborhood and came back, though once Mata jumped into the trunk of a neighbor’s car. The neighbor drove to Vancouver, opened the trunk and Mata sprang out and disappeared. Six months later, someone turned her into the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, which scanned her chip and called Buss.

Then, last Labor Day, Buss came home but Mata wasn’t there. Usually, she was in the yard. On Thursday he found out she was picked up by Michael King, who saw her crouching under a table in the rain at Tabor Hill Cafe and picked her up.

King said that impulse turned into a journey. Hauling food and water in his backpack with the cat on top, King hitchhiked around California then traveled to Montana. The two camped at Yosemite National Park and even witnessed a cattle stampede before she was scanned by the vet.

Buss said King planned to bring Mata back to Portland this week.

When he arrives, Buss plans a celebration with family and friends and Mata’s favorite treat: ground up raw chicken with egg yolks and vitamins. This might be the last time she gets out. “I’m thinking of keeping her inside,” Buss said. “She likes to ramble.”

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